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September 1999

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Staking, welsh poppies, pineapple flower

With west winds blowing through herbaceous plants, I am glad I spent time staking tall ligularias and the large yellow daisy, Inula magnifica. Bamboo canes and string were used. Link stakes are life-savers for peonies, phlox, malva and the late-flowering willow gentian. Scramblers look better when held either by birch or by hazel sticks.

I would like to use wicker supports for sweet peas in pyramid shapes - they act as a focal point even when bare. Galvanised chicken wire is essential for floppy alstroemerias and Knautia macedonica. I press the wire into the shape of the plants. Dahlias, rudbeckias, achillea and Lobelia tupa will keep the garden here in flower until November; regular checks will prevent flopping.

The entrance to 'The Old Orchard', my new area, is complete. Wrought-iron arches carry clematis, and golden privet is being trained to create an arch. The old apple trees (planted by my mother) were suffering from neglect. I removed the offending trees and planted lots of climbing roses and actinidia to scramble through the canopy of the remainder. The meadow grass has been cut and a grass ride with taller grasses graded at different levels is being left as a haven for wildlife.

In the paved garden all the crevices are bulging with plants. Top marks to Erigeron karvinskianus, the Mexican fleabane; its lax branches carry white/pink daisies. Arctosis from a cutting taken last year is a metre across. I have a prostrate rosemary with blue elymus grass, and Yucca  ‘Bright Edge' with the blue-flowered Cerinthe major - an easy annual from seed.

My welsh poppy is planted with Heuchera ‘Palace Purple'; green lady's mantle and smoky-blue nepeta fight for their existence. Lastly a seedling of the pink Paeonia cambessedesii has popped up in just the right spot. Having purchased a second Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium', scarlet tropaeolum decided to scramble through - a perfect combination until R. moyseii turned out to be a puce colour instead of brilliant magenta. I will now underplant it with white astilbes.

The pineapple flower, eucomis, is coming into its own. The variety E. autumnalis has found a happy home in front of a stone trough that has the deep claret-flowered Saxifraga ‘Wada' variety and white Cyclamen coum.

Moor grass, Molinia ‘Moorhexe', should be planted with Gentiana sino-ornata, plant them in drifts and full sun - a guarantee of autumn bliss. Potted lilies are now being cut down after flowering and watering is being reduced. Tender nerines, veltheimias and hedychiums, on the other hand, are being given more water now.

Regular watering allows me to move shrubs at the drop of a hat. I decided to remove more and they have been replaced with some camellias between the kitchen garden and a gravel path. The top of a laurel hedge has been reduced by three feet allowing me to clip the top from ground level.

 

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